To the Editor:
As a moral theologian teaching
at the Jesuit Catholic Marquette University, I applaud Molly Gintys article
on Treatment Denied at Catholic hospitals. She shows that Catholic
hospitals are a misfit in a pluralistic democracy because they take minority
views on medical ethicsviews not held by most Catholic theologians and
people---and impose them on a secular society. Moreover, and outrageously, they
are supported by American tax-payers as they impose their idiosyncratic religious
views on American citizens.
Catholic hospitals are also an anachronism. In earlier ages, monks used to help their neighbors in the event of a fire. When the civic community came to realize that fire fighting was a civic responsibility, the monks didnt need to do it any more. If they had continued doing it we might today have Catholic Firehouses such as the Immaculate Conception Fire Company.
Catholic hospitals were founded when the state did not acknowledge its obligation to provide necessary health care for the poor. Catholics took up the challenge to serve the poor. They can no longer afford to do that. The sunset rule for their demise has long since been applicable. They are thus as anomalous as would be Catholic Firehouses.
Professor Daniel C. Maguire
The writer is a professor of theology at Marquette University.
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